HyQuid is a more Accurate Way to Diagnose Psychiatric Disorders

Photo courtesy of www.popsci.com

Photo courtesy of www.popsci.com

Measuring the activity of the brain can tell researchers a lot about how a healthy brain functions, as well as when the functioning is disrupted, whether by psychiatric disorders like depression or schizophrenia, or neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. The tools that scientists use to measure and track that brain activity, such as fMRI and EEG, are already quite sophisticated, according to popsci.com/.  But more precise tools that take different kinds of measurements could help researchers learn new information about the brain.

The HyQUID is a novel development of the generic SQUID, Superconducting Quantum Interference Device, a very sensitive magnetic field detector. The HyQUID retains the sensitivity of the SQUID to magnetic field whilst having better overall performance characteristics and critically is simpler to fabricate and calibrate, according to  biospace.com/.

Professor Victor Petrashov, the creator of this machine, said, “It has been surprising and immensely gratifying to see how quickly a device founded on fundamental, groundbreaking quantum physics research at Royal Holloway is likely to generate impact in such an important area of human health and wellbeing.”

The MEG scanner development is being undertaken by a new UK company, York Instruments Ltd.  Backed financially by US-based investment, the development will allow MEG scanners to be produced at a reduced cost, providing wider accessibility, according to medicaldesignbriefs.com/.

York Instruments has been granted an exclusive license to use HyQUID in this exciting development alongside two other key technology components developed within the UK; the data acquisition software and specialist electronics are provided under license from the University of York and the superconducting cooling solution will be provided by Oxford Instruments, according to phys.org.

Professor Gary Green, Chief Technology Officer of York Instruments comments, “The development of the HyQUID and its incorporation into this new medical imaging device has allowed a step change in the performance and availability of MEG technology. The integration of the key technologies has opened up a new global market for York Instruments with exciting new applications in neurology and psychiatry.”

The current MEG scanners cost at least $3.4 million each, according to Popular Science. Royal Holloway and York Instruments haven’t said how much the HyQUID could cost but the goal is to make them more affordable than the predecessors, according to dotmed.com.